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AUTUMN IN OXFORD: A Novel ~Alex Rosenberg

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Lake Union Publishing is certainly sharing some mighty fine reads with me this year.  AUTUMN IN OXFORD is a finely crafted murder, espionage, love story which is about reading every word and storing the details so you will be able to fit the twists and changes into perspective and solve the “who done it” part.  Even though the murder takes place in the first few chapters of the story in 1959, the why and who take pages of history and connection to piece it all together; lots of McCarthyism to uncover.

TLC Book Tours shared a winner with this read.  The writing is top notch and has the wonderful British pacing of the well-ordered sleuth with the push of the American prejudice exposed and revealed – made plain and arrogant.

Tom is a Finish boy who was reared in New York by his dedicated parents, he has married well a wealthy socialite and his writing has won him a Pulitzer Prize.  In his youth, he briefly joined the Communist Party and met the Rosenberg’s and other big names in college.  He left the Party and studied History and is now doing a teaching Fellowship at Oxford.   He meets his neighbor Liz, and realizes he has met the love of his life.  Liz is from Toronto, has 2 children and an unemployed husband who avoided the war by moving to Canada and lives life for appearances.

Tom’s wife insists that he return to New York with her, but Tom does not want to go because of his affair with Liz, also because he is having serious trouble with his passport – some department of government is pestering and threatening his because of his past connections – blacklisting.  Liz’s husband is murdered and now Tom has been arrested and a clever lawyer is now tracking the case and Tom’s backstory is outlined in detail.  One needs to read with care to find all the pieces that will fit together and complete the story’s truth.  I found it very difficult to put the story down, even with the deliberate pacing.

Alex Rosenberg is the author of the novel THE GIRL FROM KRAKOW.  He has lived in Britain and has taught at Oxford, where he made the acquaintance of some of the historical figures that play roles in AUTUMN IN OXFORD.  Rosenberg is the R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University in North Carolina.

Alex Rosenberg Wikipedia

Related:
Gone To Soldiers
Cuckoos Calling
The Boys In The Boat

THE SKELETON GARDEN: A Potting Shed Mystery ~Marty Wingate

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Net Galley sent me a copy of Marty Wingate’s newest book for review and I was so pleased as I have read all of her Potting Shed Mystery Stories and find them delightful.

Pru Parke is busy in the garden with her brother Simon getting the Greenoak Gardens in perfect order for a magazine spread coming up in a prestigious English Gardening magazine.  Pru’s husband Christopher transferred from the London Police Department to a small local command in Ratley. The Gardeners remove a tree that has failed to thrive and discover as they dig down the reason why – too much gravel and a WWII air plane with skeleton.  The Mystery begins amidst the new hedges and dividing the bulbs for winter and being prepared for the reporters visit.

The town is also getting ready for the Christmas Fete and decide their theme is WWII in light of the garden situation and nearly everyone is involved in the discoveries and attractions of figuring out who was buried with the airplane.  Lots of stories emerge and papers and speculation, as the town looks at history and the present.

I have found each of Marty Wingate’s books to be a delightful read and I certainly enjoy the tours of garden plants and the family interactions.  A great weekend read and I feel renewed when I have finished.

I need to say that I follow Marty Wingate on Facebook and she has identified a plant or two in my new garden space as things are emerging this spring.  Thank you so much – I too love the name “Pigs Squeak”

Here are the books I have reviewed from Marty Wingate and she has another series about Birds of a Feather also in England.  More Gardening books and articles also to discover.

The Garden Plot
The Red Book of Primrose House
The Rhyme of the Magpie
Between a Rock and Hard Place

Several More are listed on Amazon

From the book:

“In addition to the Potting shed Mysteries, Marty Wingate is also the author of The Rhyme of the Magpie, A Birds of a Feather Mystery.  A well-known speaker on gardens and travel, she has written numerous non-fiction books on gardening, including Landscaping for Privacy.  Marty’s garden articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including The American Gardener, and Country Gardens.  She is hard at work on her next novel.  She lives in Seattle, Washington and travels often to England”

www.martiwingate.com
Marty Wingate Facebook

MISTRESS OF THE COURT: Historic Fiction ~Laura Purcell

Monday, October 5th, 2015

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of  MISTRESS OF THE COURT for review. It is quite an interesting historic study and the author has done a great deal of research before adding her fictional parts.  I quite enjoyed this good read.

“The second in Laura Purcell’s captivating and acclaimed series of novels chronicling the lives and loves of the consorts and mistresses of Britain’s rash, reckless and ebullient Hanoverian kings.

Her first novel, Queen of Bedlam, was published by Myrmidon in the summer of 2014.” (TLC Book Tours page)

About the Author from the TLC Book Tours site:

“Laura Purcell is a former Waterstones bookseller who lives in Colchester. She is a member of the Society for Court Studies and Historic Royal Palaces and featured on a recent PBS documentary, talking about Queen Caroline’s life at Hampton Court. She maintains a history blog at laurapurcell.com.”

Henrietta is an orphan who marries very young to a man who is extremely abusive.  His blows of anger deafen her and she is forced to flee his rages in order to feed her son.  She heads off to the House of Hanover in hopes of finding employment for herself and her husband as Princess Caroline and Prince George wait their turn as the royal family in England.  George’s father, George Ludwig becomes the first King and he handles the court with an iron hand and unbounded cruelty towards his family.

Henrietta becomes an attendant to Caroline and they develop a friendship; well one of tentative trust and power inequality.  They both loose their sons to fathers and control issues.  Caroline offers some protection to Henrietta and some relief from her husband and the abuse.

There is a considerable amount of true story to this book and the story weaves in conversations, which could truly have happened.  Purcell is an accomplished storyteller and historian of this royal family tree.   She has studied the family and is now working on a series of stories about the Hanover Court.  I have always enjoyed reading these historic fiction pieces and have been a great fan of Philippa Gregory’s work over the years.   My mother in her childhood had to memorize the English Kings and Queens and study them in school and I read a number of these stories to her in her later years.  She much more enjoyed US historic fiction and thought it was wise to only have President’s for eight years not so many royals.

I had some confusion at the beginning of the book and needed pencil and paper to keep things straight and then I found a rhythm that made the book more enjoyable.  I put aside an hour to wander the Internet to read more about this Court and their times as a general history lesson and to bring me more in line with what I was reading.   I do like this genre and think I would have devoured this story when I was in high school.  This read did not dwell so much on beheadings and torture, it was more about the family experience and the role of waiting for your turn.

Related:
Outlander Series
Mireille
The Crown

A BRILLIANT DECEPTION: An AB&T Novel ~Kim Foster

Monday, July 20th, 2015

When Kim Foster sent me an email asking if I would like to review her new book I jumped at the opportunity.  I have reviewed her first two books in this series, A Beautiful Heist  and A Magnificent Crime over the past several years and I could hardly wait to dive into this new book and see what Cat Montgomery was up to these days.   Within the first two pages, the reader is whisked off to Venice and quite the adventure.

Cat Montgomery is a jewel thief for the Agency of Burglary &Theft.  She is very good at her job as she steals back famous and expensive pieces of jewelry taken up by the wealthy; what has been stolen from somewhere else.    She is just off a heist of a famous necklace from a hotel safe in Los Angeles when she is pulled into a job in England of the Lionheart ruby ring.  The ring has been found in a grave in the UK.  With all her planning and care the Caliga, a notorious crime organization takes the ring just minutes before she arrives.   Her job now is to return the ring to England and rescue her new co-worker.

A BRILLIANT DECEPTION brings the whole team back together and Ethan, Jack, Brooke, and a new character Felix join the planning and head off to Venice to retrieve the ring and steal it back.  A love triangle forms which adds and interesting dimension to the fast and furious pursuit of the ring.

The writing is good and well paced and I just leaned into this read and found it hard to put down.  When I did need to do something different, it was easy to come back to and the story moved very well.   It was a good adventure and I liked the ending.

I did find it hard that Cat’s mother did not figure into the story as much, but she was instrumental in starting Cat thinking about a new career or about how to use her skills in a more productive direction.

Great for the beach – lighthearted and fun, it was interesting to explore some English History and the Robin Hood legend further.  I highly recommend this story and this author.  I believe that everyone will enjoy A BRILLIANT DECEPTION.

Kim Foster is the author of the Agency of Burglary and Theft Series of Thrillers. She first got her degree in Medicine and has been a family physician in Victoria, British Columbia for sixteen years.   Online, you can find her blogging about her left-brain, right-brain mash-up on www.kimfoster.com.  Kim lives with her husband and their two young boys.  She is hard at work on her next book and drinking a lot of coffee. (from the book cover)

Foster is making some special offers on Facebook to promote A BRILLIANT DECEPTION

Related:
A Beautiful Heist 
A Magnificent Crime